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Johnny Clegg at Shandrani Beachcomber: “Struggle defines and shapes life”

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The legendary South African musician, Johhny Clegg stayed at Shandrani Beachcomber Resort & Spa during his visit to Mauritius in October 2018 for his first concert on the island in over three decades.

Nicknamed the White Zulu, Johnny Clegg returned to Mauritius for a concert on Saturday 13 October 2018. Thirty-one years after his first and only live performance on the island, he only dimly recalled the event but he felt that, “was important to reconnect with my fans and we replied positively to the invitation of Immedia in the context of the Birth Centenary of Nelson Mandela.”

The South African musician admitted that he was “ “It’s been a very short visit but I enjoyed the hotel and the sea and the hospitality.”

An emblematic figure of the anti-apartheid struggle, Johnny Clegg believes that the next elections will be an important signpost for the future of South Africa. “We are a vibrant and developing country with all the issues that characterise a nation recently liberated. Our hope is to create a country where inequality, poverty and unemployment can become significantly reduced. We have a free press and a modern progressive Constitution. We have however lost some of our way as corruption and an outdated liberation ideology have impeded our ability to deal with the economic legacy of apartheid.”

Looking back over his four-decade musical career, which started with the band Juluka, he takes pride in having helped “create a new cross-over music using Zulu and English in the same song, experimenting with cultural fusion in a way that gave us hope that we all would one day live in an inclusive non-racial society.”

The year 2018 also marked the 100th birth anniversary of the father of the current democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela. “He was the emblem of the anti-apartheid struggle and someone who we had heard of but not seen. To have a photo of him was illegal and a crime. That’s why I wrote Asimbonanga – The one we have not seen. He was the one I thought could bridge all the ethnic groups and languages and races and his nation building abilities proved to be incredible.”

Despite having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015, the singer said his musical career was far from over. What keeps him going is “Inkani yempilo”, a Zulu saying which translates literally as “Stubborn determination of life”. He’s still standing after 40 years of music, writing and performing alternative music despite the serious health issues he has endured. “I realise that struggle defines and shapes life; it is the laboratory of a person’s trajectory. How we respond to adversity becomes our recipe for life.”

After performing in Zimbabwe in November, he is planning a final tour in Europe and Australia. His autobiography is also currently in production. “It’s on its way, I still need to finish it. This will be the final legacy I’ll be leaving…”